UN negotiations chair calls new text a historic step toward Security Council reform

08:28, June 09, 2010      

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Efforts to reform the United Nations Security Council have gained momentum with the compilation of a new text that will provide the basis for future negotiations amongst member states, said the chair of the reform committee here on Tuesday.

"For the first time you have a text to discuss. No decision is going to be made if you don't have a document. Now you have all positions on the table, a workable paper," Zahir Tanin, chair of intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, told reporters at a press conference at the UN Headquarters.

Tanin, who also serves as the Afghan Ambassador to the UN, called the negotiation text an "important" and "historic" step in reforming the Security Council, a process that has been ongoing for 17 years.

The new document is based on 30 proposals submitted by individual countries and groups of member states, reflecting their positions on the key issues surrounding Security Council reform. " We tried to enforce a member-state driven process," said Tanin.

There have been four rounds of intergovernmental negotiations on reforming the Security Council, since their launch by the UN General Assembly in 2009.

The 192-member world body is set to begin a fifth round of deliberations on June 11. The talks will focus on "the text at hand in an open, transparent and inclusive manner," said Tanin at the press conference here on Tuesday.

The Security Council has remained unchanged since its membership expanded from 11 to 15 nations in 1963. Five permanent members -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- hold veto power. The other 10 members are elected to serve for two-year terms and have no power to veto decisions by the council.

One of the issues under discussion involves the lack of regional representation of African nations in the Council's membership. Tanin said he hopes to see a constructive engagement of Africa in the deliberations.

"Equitable representation is the basis of this reform," he said. "We are now equipped for agreement, but I cannot predict the outcome, the timing, nor the intention of the member-states. A solution can come when the negotiation can end."

Source: Xinhua
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